The People of Shadowcliff
Kelly Yarbrough - Chair
Mary Silwance - Vice Chair
Originally from Egypt, Mary Silwance lives in Kansas City where she mothers three daughters. She is an herbalism apprentice and farmhand whose poetry and essays has appeared in numerous publications. Mary serves on the editorial team of Kansas City Voices and recently self-published three chapbooks. Mary Silwance explores environmental issues from the intersection of justice and spirituality both at http://tonicwild.blogspot.com/ and in workshops.
Larry Leblang - Treasurer
Chris Van Roekel - Secretary
While living in Fort Collins, Colorado, Chris began volunteering at Shadowcliff in 2015 as part of the early May volunteer group. He enjoys the beauty of the creation that surrounds Shadowcliff and the opportunity to connect and build relationships with fellow volunteers in a setting like none other. After receiving masters and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University, Chris now resides in Indiana where he now lives and works as an engineering team leader for a large engine manufacturer. In his free time, you can find Chris working on his golf game or on his road bike on flat, wind-blown country roads.
Hannah Colter was a Shadowcliff summer staff member in 2011 and 2013. She now lives in the Denver area and works for Violence Free Colorado, the state coalition against domestic violence. Hannah has her bachelor’s in Spanish from Grinnell College and master’s in Gender and Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies/University of Sussex. She enjoys running, reading, hiking, and writing, and is looking forward to reconnecting with the Shadowcliff community as a member of the board.
Jamie first visited Shadowcliff while serving as CEO of an environmental organization in Kansas City
during which he expanded his understanding of sustainability issues, climate change, community
advocacy and volunteerism. During several visits he found Shadowcliff to be a haven for education,
inspiration and rejuvenation. Jamie spent the first ten years of his career working for the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections where he learned much (in retrospect) as a Warden and Deputy Warden.
Subsequently he worked for nearly 30 years as CEO and regional manager of continuing care retirement
communities coast-to-coast, most recently in the Kansas City area. He and his wife Judy vacationed with
their four kids in the mountains for many years and he has a decades-long interest in sustainable design.
Recently retired, he looks forward to spending time with family and his three granddaughters.
Jay Liebenguth is a writer and strategic communicator. A sometimes business journalist, he has focused on gaining insights from talking with leaders and sharing stories with his audience. He has produced and hosted radio and television shows and asked questions, most of his professional life. He is a voracious reader and semi-professional photographer. He loves to cook and chase the grandchildren around the house. Jay has been an active member of Shadowcliff’s marketing committee since 2012.
Sue Rempel spent almost every summer of her life with her family in Grand Lake since 1957, building and helping with every aspect of Shadowcliff. After an injury temporarily kept her away, she’s happily serving on the board to support Shadowcliff’s future, bringing the vision and commitment that Warren and Patt Rempel held as they built each building— their dream and life’s work. Sue’s love of Grand Lake extended to her two sons, Alexander and Nicholas, who experienced the magic for nearly every summer of their childhoods. Sue, a hospice nurse, lives in Santa Fe, NM with her family.
James Skelly Warren is a retired theatre professor. His 1972 connection to Grand Lake and ultimately Shadowcliff was summer theatre; his wife, Judith, and he revived the The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre in 1995 and after 9 years retired. In 2007-2013 they were delighted to serve Shadowcliff as on-site managers. It was Skelly’s love and commitment to Shadowcliff, Grand Lake and the surrounding natural beauty that brought him to the Shadowcliff Board of Directors. He was selected as Chair in September 2020.
Tina Casagrand is the founder and publisher of independent print magazine The New Territory, which has published more than 300 writers and artists focused on the nature and culture of the Lower Midwest since its founding in 2015. Most of her professional career has been spent serving environmental nonprofits through coordination and communication capacities. Her clients include the Climate + Energy Project, the Missouri Prairie Foundation, and most recently the North American Invasive Species Management Association, where she served as communications manager. She teaches nature writing, arts, and communications at the Missouri Scholars Academy and has spoken at numerous writing conferences. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelors of Journalism in magazine publishing and a Bachelors of Arts in anthropology.
Leslie VonHolten is a writer and cultural program director with over 15 years of experience in nonprofit development and management. A former arts executive director, she now works as the Director of Grants & Outreach for Humanities Kansas, a statewide nonprofit that works to elevate the humanities in daily life. Leslie has served on the board of directors for the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas (a folk art environment), and was a founding member of the Percolator Artspace in Lawrence, Kansas, a 501(c)3 community art gallery and gathering place. Her strengths include designing and implementing collaborative partnerships, community advocacy, financial management, and fundraising. Her creative nonfiction and essays have been published in The New Territory, Literary Landscapes, Flint Hills Field Journal, and The Pitch, among other outlets.
Executive Director: Blaine Scott
Blaine first experienced Shadowcliff 32 years ago as a spiritual director for the HIV Retreat. A few years later he officiated a wedding ceremony on the Point. Now he brings over 20 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership to his role as Executive Director. Blaine earned his M. Div. at St. Paul School of Theology, K.C. MO. As a United Methodist clergyperson, Rev. Scott has served as pastor and sr. pastor in 3 congregations – the last being F.U.M.C. of Grand Junction, CO where he revitalized a multi-generational congregation and its outreach in the local community.
Blaine and his wife reside near Grand Junction. His remote leadership role allows a satellite view of Shadowcliff operations and funding. He also has the opportunity to join the onsite Shadowcliff community in person during seasonal transitions and certain events.
The Shadowcliff Board of Directors put out the call for a steward to guide this inspiring nonprofit mountain sanctuary and retreat center, and Blaine emphatically answered YES! He is motivated by meaningful collaborations and community-cultivating spaces, and he is excited by the opportunity to work with an engaged Board to implement a new strategic plan that will carry Shadowcliff into the future!
Events & Activities Manager: Scott Merchant
Scott Merchant is a 20 year Educator and passionate Opera Singer who has spent the last 13 years developing equitable, inclusive, inter-disciplinary Programming for underserved populations throughout the United States and Mexico.
Scott is formally trained in Opera America's most recent curriculum under the leadership of American Composer, Roger Ames. Using his training and his broad experience in the Arts Community, Scott's programs use the inter-disciplinary arts as an intersection between experience and expression. This inter-connectivity has a profound impact on Human socialization and growth.
Coming from a small village in Northern New York, Scott has a vision for making Arts and Enrichment experiences affordable for All. He is proud that one of the biggest parts of his life’s work is helping others to find their Voice; not just in singing, but in the world!
Administrative Manager: Emily Cesca
Emily has worn many hats during her 5-plus years with Shadowcliff: Assistant Manager, General Manager, resident yoga instructor, impromptu late night maintenance manager, and more. She is happy to return as Shadowcliff’s Administrative Manager, and while she may no longer be joining the summer staff onsite, she is hard at work year-round to keep the wheels turning.
Emily is a certified yoga instructor and a certified bookkeeping specialist (she likes to keep things interesting!) When she’s not assisting Shadowcliff, she teaches yoga, practices her photography, and plays her ukulele. Emily would love to connect with you, whether you are a Shadowcliff guest, volunteer, staff member, board member, group leader/participant, or fellow yogi!
Joe Baldwin is a senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN majoring in Human & Organizational Development with a focus in Leadership. He is involved with the campus spirit team (cheerleaders) and a Latin dance club on campus. "Fun fact: I’m Kathy’s nephew!"
Samaya (she/her) is currently studying for her Masters in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design, New York. She is from Bangalore, India, where she studied Architecture. Her interest in the design community enabled her to co-found an organization with a mission to create learning experiences in the design sector, gaining knowledge and experience in social innovation and business design. While she isn't working on a design problem, you can find her drawing in a park or experimenting with food.
Chidinmma Egemonu is a current sophomore at Vanderbilt University majoring in Cognitive Studies and Human and Organizational Development. She is interested in exploring how data analytics and human behavior interact to help create better educational environments for young people. She is excited to further explore these passions as a member of Shadowcliff's Gen Z Advisory Group!
Benjamin (Ben) was born in Mumbai, India and came over to the U.S. in 2001. He is currently attending Jobcorps training in Albuquerque, NM for Build, Construction and Technology and hopes to go into the solar field. Ben is currently working at a hardware store in Kansas City, MO; on his days off he installs carpet, does some plumbing work, and a bit of carpentry. Ben also went through Centriq I.T. training and is a Network Administrator. Some of Ben's passions are photography, cooking and fishing as well. He has a a deep love for trees and stars.
Atul is a leadership development consultant with demonstrated impact working with young professionals, leveraging his skills for program design and facilitation of experiential journeys and coaching. He is currently pursuing an MS in Organizational Change Management from The New School in New York City. Over the past six years, Atul has designed and facilitated fellowship and internship programs, residential and non-residential workshops in rural and urban settings with adolescents and young professionals in education, non-profit and corporations. He has coached, supervised, and engaged with more than 500 youth from India, UK, USA, Australia, Germany, and Afghanistan on their "self-to-society" leadership journeys. A Zolberg – IRC Learning and development fellow, Atul enthusiastically believes in forming cross-border connections, fostering compassion, and creating immersive experiences for young adults.
Becca (she/her) is Loretto Volunteer working at Angelica Village in Lakewood, CO. She's originally from Minneapolis, MN, and graduated from Macalester College in 2019. She is entranced by the magic of growing food, cooking that food, and sharing it in community, and wants to be a full-time regenerative farmer. You'll find her fermenting foods, reading, and hiking on the weekends.
Amy (she/her) is a current AmeriCorps member working on food justice initiatives at Hunger Free America in New York City. She is originally from Salem, Oregon and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2018 where she studied Ethnic Studies, Gender Studies and Theology. She is enjoying learning about the wonderful history of Shadowcliff both through the Gen Z Advisory Group as well through assisting with communications efforts.
Sydney Sirkin is a current senior at Elon University in North Carolina. She was slated to be on the 2020 summer staff at Shadowcliff, but was stopped short due to COVID. She is thrilled to be a part of the archive team, and has thoroughly enjoyed working with Kathy and the team. Sydney is majoring in Arts Administration with minors in Theatre Design and Environmental Studies, and loves to write, camp, hike and do yoga in her free time.
As a former co-director, Judith brings a wealth of Shadowcliff history and expertise to the Board and staff. She has played a key role in developing Shadowcliff’s food philosophy and Compassionate Kitchen and continues to provide guidance in many Shadowcliff operational issues.
Michael Dorosh is a retired small business owner who now devotes his time to a number of volunteer endeavors. Since 2004, he has been Director of the annual HIV Retreat at Shadowcliff, started over 20 years ago by the founders of Shadowcliff. Michael serves as Director of Treatment Educat10n Network (TEN). Its programs include the HIV Retreat, monthly Community Educat10nal Forums, and the UB2 social group. Nationally, he is very involved in the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC) and the Global Community Advisory Board of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). He also serves on the University of Colorado ACTG CAB (Community Advisory Board) and the Colorado State ADAP Advisory Committee. He enjoys gardening, camping, hiking, and spending time with his best friend Rocket.
Ariana Friedlander, MPA is a community organizer, a social entrepreneur and the Founder of Rosabella Consulting, LLC. She works with leaders doing business as UNusual. Ariana specializes in fostering positive change in an organization’s culture so it remains relevant in the 21st century. Ariana received the 4th Annual Quid Novi award for Innovative Thought for EntrepreNerds™. She has her Master’s in Organizational Leadership from the University of Delaware and her BA from Hampshire College. Ariana lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband and daughter.
Randal Friesen, Architect – Randy first came to Shadowcliff at age 7 in 1962 and has been actively participating on a regular basis since moving to Denver in 1980 after graduating from KSU. Randy participated on the board with founders Warren and Patt Rempel, working through the transition of SC to non-profit status and new directors Bob and Judith Mann. He has been very involved in facility upkeep, and redesign/ remodeling processes through the years. To Randy, Shadowcliff embodies the ‘spirituality’, and helps foster the stewardship of, our beautiful earth, and he hopes to continue to strengthen that ethos.
Bill Lepentis - designer, professor, strategist and researcher. He has over 25 years in the architectural design, master planning, and construction management industry. His projects include social change initiatives and innovations involving the elimination of homelessness and poverty. Bill’s thesis work and concentration included innovations, services, environments and products involving play-based learning for early childhood education. The last five years has seen Bill’s design practice evolve into a design research and strategy consulting firm; linking traditional practices with new, human-centered design approaches, helping companies and organizations grow and succeed.
Doug is a Manufactures Representative specializing in electronic test and measurement equipment. He lives in Olathe Kansas. Doug visited Shadowcliff for the first time 20 years ago and has been coming back ever since. He enjoys volunteering and the opportunity to be a small part of an amazing place. He encourages everyone to come and experience Shadowcliff as a guest a volunteer or both. When Doug is not volunteering, you will find him bushwhacking and backpacking Rocky Mountain National Park.
Bob is a retired co-director of Shadowcliff. He continues to develop and inspire Shadowcliff programming with his wisdom and wit. As a former director, Bob is an invaluable resource to the Board about all things related to Shadowcliff and more. Bob is also very active in creating partnerships for Shadowcliff, and probably planning a future Shadowcliff workshop as you read this.
Susan Miller has spent more than 20 years guiding clarity and consensus for productive change. Most recently her expertise is leading companies through strategic planning, program development and process/workforce optimization. She leverages her leadership experience as a consultant, facilitator, strategist, and project manager working for and representing large national corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and start-ups, across multiple industries including education, manufacturing and the environment. Growing up in Wisconsin, she has a strong passion for the importance of accessibility to the outdoors. When she’s not brainstorming innovative solutions with clients, Susan can often be found on a body of water or on her road bike.
Richie has worked in the field of Information Technology for over 15 years and currently serves as the IT Director for Colorado State University - College of Business. He has a passion for environmental stewardship and conservation. This has led him to co-found Gaia Environmental Consulting, whose mission is to promote environmental responsibility and sustainability through the implementation of policies, practices and methods. Richie hopes to help Shadowcliff visitors with safe and reliable access to the internet when they are not connecting with nature, meditating, self reflecting, rejuvenating, or learning and growing.
Stephanie P. Ogburn, is a public radio journalist turned software engineer. She leads a team of software engineers at Radial Development Group, creating mobile and web applications for a variety clients. She is passionate about the environment and the outdoors, and spends much of her time trail running, mountain biking, growing food and flowers, and being outside. She has a Masters of Environmental Science from the Yale School of the Environment. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, stepchildren, and cat.
Ivy discovered Shadowcliff in 2012 when she befriended its staff members just a few weeks after graduating from Kent State University with a Bachelor's in Communications and Hospitality Management. She fell in love with the lodge, the people, and the mission, and in 2014, she joined the staff. Ivy went on to earn her Master's in Business Administration from San Francisco State University and has been returning to Shadowcliff to visit every couple of years. She has a decade of experience expert in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) and has helped hundreds of people routinely become proactive allies to marginalized and oppressed groups in a multitude of ways. She has coached people in building a routine in their own business by doing an internal audit on contracts, websites, sales copy, imagery, email campaigns, and marketing to make inclusion a cohesive component in their brand. Outside of her DEIB work with community-based organizations, nonprofits, and big tech, Ivy has coached yoga instructors, piano teachers, retirees, parents, social media influencers, and more to help them make incremental changes to express allyship in both business and interpersonal parts of life. Aligned with her mission to empower and enable others, she offers pre-built event plans for DEIB-themed workshops that are designed for others to facilitate in their own communities.
Terry discovered Shadowcliff’s magic on a week-long retreat with 40 members of his Kansas City congregation in 1976. Six of those individuals have since served as managers, staff or on the board. He designs and facilitates processes that change an organization’s or community’s culture, and coaches CEO’s through organizational transition. He and Eldonna have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. They divide their time between a western Kansas ranch and Denver.
Eric Ziegenhorn is an attorney with Creative Planning Legal and practices in the areas of estate planning and real estate. After attending Mizzou, he got his JD from University of California-Berkeley in 1983. He is admitted to practice law in Missouri, Kansas, California and Georgia, and lives in midtown Kansas City with his family. Eric has presented numerous continuing legal education seminars for other lawyers and the public, and is also active as a legal writer for Thompson Reuters, for which he has authored and updates a popular three-volume set of legal forms for use by Missouri lawyers [Missouri Legal Forms 3d, West Publishing division of Thomson Reuters]. Eric works on a regular basis with the Volunteer Attorney Project (operated by the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Defenders Office), is on the Board of Directors of Bridging the Gap and the Writer's Place, and is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.